Law enforcement officers, firefighters and neighbors gathered in Batavia Township on Aug. 7 to celebrate the National Night Out event hosted by the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office.
The event, which was held from 6-8 p.m. at the Batavia Township Community Center, featured free food and drinks, games, a bounce house, dunking booth, clowns, face painting, basketball, volleyball, and cornhole, as well as demonstrations from Air Care, police, special response team, the dive team and motorcycle unit.
With thunderstorms rolling through the area earlier in the evening, the event seemed like it might be a wash, but the rain subsided, and the community turned out in droves.
Howard Daugherty, executive director of the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission, set up an information table at the event. He said he wished there was better weather, but it seemed like a good crowd.
“I just try to pass out a little stuff and talk to a veteran or two; hope for the best,” he said.
Daugherty explained why he thought the event was important for the community.
“I think it’s great, because this way, the kids get to go see things they wouldn’t naturally see; firetrucks, police vehicles, and meet policemen,” he said.
This marked the first year that the Cincinnati Shriners set up their dunking booth.
Cincinnati Shriners Barrels Da Clown and his son Stripes Da Clown, otherwise known as Jonathan Nealan, a patrolman for the village of Amelia Police Department, were running the booth early in the evening; the sheriff’s department took over the prop later on with the tagline, “Dunk-A-Deputy.”
“The clown’s warming the water for the deputies,”Barrels Da Clown quipped.
He went on to explain the importance of bringing the dunk tank to the event.
“Everyone sees law enforcement as such a serious job all the time, and people need to realize that these men and women that put their badges on each day are just that; men and women in the community that want to protect and serve, and that have a good side to them,” he said.
Debbie Beamer, of Amelia, and her daughter Stephanie Rigg, also of Amelia, and Rigg’s daughter Alaina Rigg, age 5, all attended the event together.
The family had visited the Union Township event on Aug. 2, and said it was “a lot of fun, and [Alaina] wanted to do it again” so they thought they’d check out Batavia Township’s event.
This was the first time the family attended the sheriff’s event.
“You get to know the sheriff’s department, other than when we need them for help and getting pulled over,” Beamer said.
She went on to explain the significance of the event to her granddaughter, and other kids.
“To show them that [police officers] are not bad; when she sees them, it’s usually because their lights are going, they pulled someone over.”
Lori Saylor, is a corporal on road patrol; she’s been with the department for 27 years.
This was her first time working the event, and this year, she was helping out at the bounce house.
“This is my first time being able to actually have some fun, and work it,” Saylor said.
She went on to explain that the special aspect of the event is that “It’s all about community. It brings the deputies and officers together, too, in a way that’s not work, which is nice.”
“It’s important for the community to see that – police, fire – we’re all people too. A lot of deputies and officers have their kids here, too, so they get to intermingle and see that we’re just like them; and we also like to have fun, and we like to see them having fun.”
Reach Megan Alley at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 513-732-2511 ext. 111.